Lady Demons split season opening doubleheader
By: Timothy Everson
Dodge City High School softball hit the diamond on Monday to open the 2017 season and walked away with a split with Thomas Moore Prep-Marian 3-14 and 8-5.
Things started off well for the Lady Demons in game one after falling behind 3-0 early in the first inning. A two-run home run for senior Emily Stephenson cut the lead to just one after the first inning.
“She brings a lot of experience,” head coach Ashley Podschun said of Stephenson. “She’s always been a big hitter. Overall she brought a great effort.”
After sophomore starter Raegan Lopp retired the side in the top of the second, senior Reiyna Cecil singled home the tying run.
Things quickly went downhill from there. With two outs in the third inning, Lopp gave up five runs followed by four more runs in the fourth, digging a 12-3 hole for Dodge City.
The Lady Demon offense was unable to help stop the bleed as they were held to just two hits in the third, fourth and fifth innings.
A wild pitch in the top of the fifth and a single scored two more runs, leaving Dodge City run-ruled 14-3 in the first game.
“That’s probably the quietest I’ve ever heard my girls,” Podschun said. “In practice, they’re never quiet. I think that jitters got to them. I told them to forget it and come back and play like I know that they can.”
In the second game, Stephenson
started and managed to only give up one run on three hits in the first five innings.
Meanwhile, the Dodge City bats went to work, recording three and fourrun innings in the second and third to stretch the lead to 7-1.
Junior Jessica Olivarez put a ball over the right field wall to start the fifth inning to give the Lady Demons a 8-1 lead.
“One thing we talked about is if our pitchers allow the other team to hit the ball our defense gets in a better groove,” Podschun said. “When our defense gets in that groove it helps us get into our offense a little better. If you notice they were a little more goofy and cheerful in the dugout and that plays into it. When they’re having fun, everything comes real easy.”
From there, Stephenson and Dodge City had to hold on tight as the Monarchs added three more runs on two hits in the sixth to cut the lead to four.
After only getting one hit in the bottom of the sixth, Dodge City just needed to hold on to their lead through three more outs to get the win.
TMP wouldn’t go away easily as they got one more run across leaving the bases loaded with no outs.
Even with Stephenson’s late game struggle, Podschun had no intention of bailing the senior out, she had to find a way out herself.
“Emily, for the most part, had done a good job of getting ahead of her batters,” Podschun said. “She was starting to get a little tired there at the end. She’s been dealing with a muscle pull and this is the most she’s pitched since then. I think as the year progresses
she’ll get stronger and she’ll be able to last a full seven like she did the first five, so I’m not too worried. But, overall, she did well tonight.”
Stephenson, who also pitched in relief during the final inning of game one, recorded two straight strikeouts and made the final put-out at first base to end the game and the comeback bid by the Monarchs.
The Lady Demons will now embark on a month long road stand starting with a doubleheader at Wichita-South on Friday before returning back to Legends Park to take on Garden City in a doubleheader.